Special Correspondent

PR was unaware of BSP having booked Parade Grounds

U.P. Chief Minister Mayawati’s meeting on March 23

HYDERABAD: It was to be a prestigious public meeting and a show of strength by the actor-turned-politician Chiranjeevi of Praja Rajyam at a premier venue of the city. Alas! It is not to be as the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) pipped him to the post.

Unknown to the PR, the BSP had secured Parade Grounds for a meeting to be addressed by its chief and U.P. Chief Minister Mayawati on March 23.

They booked the place by taking a temporary licence valid from March 20 to 24 through the Defence Estate Office sending PR activists into a tizzy on Tuesday.

Stunned PR leaders burnt telephone lines, and after frantic consultations, have now managed to secure the adjacent Bison Polo Grounds. Saving grace is that there is not much difference in size of both the grounds with the latter likely to be about 25 acres, slightly smaller than Parade Grounds, the usual venue for star politicians.

Mr. Chiranjeevi himself had announced a few days ago that the Secunderabad meeting scheduled for March 21 would showcase his party’s following among people.

It would be the third public meeting addressed by him after the maiden one at Tirupati and recent one at Rajahmundry.

But PR leaders forgot to secure the ground first by taking the temporary licence issued by the DEO here and blocking the meeting dates. The licence period could run into two to four days for the organisations concerned to make arrangements of stage, seating and related paraphernalia.

Security deposit

Interested parties should pay a licence fee of Rs. 1,250, Rs. 20,000 as security deposit and another sum of Rs. 10,000 as cleaning charges to restore the ground back to its original shape. BSP leaders who too were surprised had offered to “share” arrangements like the stage since Ms. Mayawati’s meeting was two days away but the PR wasn’t too keen.

Later in the day, the party managed to get the Polo Grounds from March 18 to 23, where NCC camps are held and which the Army authorities are usually reluctant to let out.